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Thais Defend Burmese Refugees

For two weeks, guerrillas aligned with Burma’s military junta have crossed into Thailand and attacked camps housing ethnic Karen refugees.

Now, Thai soldiers have struck back, following the rebels into Burma and razing their camps in a bloody offensive, soldiers said Saturday.

The soldiers said they used artillery and helicopters to push about 60 of the guerrillas back into Burma on Thursday, then followed them and burned 13 of their camps and a weapons cache. The soldiers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said many guerrillas were killed and one Thai soldier was injured.

On Friday night, about 100 guerrillas crossed again into Thailand, but soldiers forced them back early Saturday, the soldiers said.

Some 70,000 refugees fled to Thailand late last year to escape attacks by the Burmese junta.

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